Monday Morning Links: March 9

Apple shows off its smartwatch today, which is apparently be available in April, further blurring the lines between its role a tech company and a lifestyle company.

Right after International Women's day, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Melinda Gates are in New York today to address the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women conference. Meanwhile, Republicans are criticizing donations to the Clinton Foundation from countries like Saudi Arabia. From the New York Times

The donations from countries with poor records on women’s rights, however, presented a difficult appearance problem for a candidate running in part as the embodiment of women’s aspirations to equality.

On the New Yorker's  Page Turner blog, Paul Elie looks at Thomas Merton as a searching man. "Here was a person who resolved not to miss the meaning of his life in the living of it. Here was a dangling man who was determined not to go slack."

It's not The Da Vinci Code, but it's close. The L.A. Review of Books reviews possibly the worst book ever written about Jesus

In the New York Review of Books, David Cole looks at the torture report, arguing the CIA's continuing tactics came down to nobody stepping forward to stop them.

The newly declassified CIA documents depict an agency whose leadership knew that what it was doing was wrong, and therefore was never fully confident that the authorizations it received from the executive branch were enough—even though they came from the president, the vice-president, the attorney general, and the national security adviser, as well as from senior lawyers in all of those offices. . . . The agency comes across as so skittish about the program that had anyone had the temerity to say no, the program almost certainly would have halted.

Maria Bowler is the former assistant digital editor of Commonweal. 

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